I never set out to become some sort of flashlight reviewer or blogger. It really just came about because a number of personal interests of mine happened to be well aligned, at a time when I had a bit more free time than I do today.
To start, I had long-standing interest in evolving portable lighting technology, especially LED lights. I have long carried a small pocket flashlight of some sort, and had been amazed by the rapid change in technology in the early to mid aughts (i.e. ~2001-2005). So I eventually started participating on the main flashlight forum at the time, candlepowerforums.com, and began buying some of the new, innovative LED flashlight models that were coming out – especially those with digital circuits (e.g., Fenix was an early pioneer). It wasn’t long before that led to my starting to review lights on the site.
As you can probably guess from my reviews, I have a scientific research background. Along with that, I have a personal interest in quantitative methods, and enjoy doing comparative analysis and testing. Integral to this is communication – findings ways to clearly present findings in a way that people find clear and useful. I realize that my reviews may seem a little over-whelming (as they grew to be quite extensive), so please check out my FAQ and Testing Methods pages for more info on what everything means.
A related point was truth in advertising. With any rapidly changing field, there is a tendency for manufacturer claims to leap ahead of actual performance/capabilities. Even when testing standards were eventually developed, it was still very difficult to compare makes and models across manufacturers. You really need independent comparative testing data, collected under the same conditions, in the same manner, for all lights. This is (and remains) what I saw as one of the main value drivers of my reviews.
Indeed, I didn’t set out to do full product reviews initially – my original goal was simply do comparative output/runtime assessments of my lights (as explained on the Runtimes section of my Methodology section). But people seemed to like to have more context around the lights I was testing, so I started adding additional background, photos of the lights, beamshots, videos of the user interface, etc., etc.
At the same time, manufacturers start sending me lights to test, so that I could compare their performance to other lights I had done. Eventually, this snow-balled into a rather extensive review format and the huge number of lights reviewed.
It was an exciting time to be a flashlight reviewer. During my main reviewing years (~2008-2016), the max output of new emitters was doubling every 12-18 months or so. Coupled within refinements in optics (e.g., tints, CRI, reflectors), battery technology, and most importantly circuit design, this led to a virtual explosion of makes and models producing some really interesting stuff (not to mention a lot of knock-offs).
But by the mid-teens (i.e., ~2015), things had really slowed down on the innovation front. The technology had matured, and I wasn’t see much of a change in emitters, batteries or circuits anymore. Frankly, testing got rather repetitive, without much to differentiate samples. I had also developed a new quantitative review hobby that was taking up a lot of my time. To learn more about that, see my inaugural resource post on my return to flashlight testing, here on this new, revamped flashlightreviews.ca.
What has never changed is my goal to provide objective measurement of flashlight performance. My reviews won’t be as frequent or quite as detailed as before, but all the relevant info will still be there (in fact, it will be easier to find now). I still try to craft my reviews so that they are relevant to the needs of actual people who use them.
Like most people, my portable lighting needs were actually fairly limited initially – mainly for walking the dog at night (or trying to avoid stepping on the cats in the dark). Of course, now you can just use a cell phone light for that. But there is still value in carrying a dedicated flashlight when the need arises. Of course, if you are reading these pages, then you’ve probably already figured that out. 🙂
I hope you enjoy the new site and reviews!